Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 14:28 UTC
Humor "Once upon a time there was a printer who lived in the woods. He was a lonely printer, because nobody knew how to configure him. He hoped and hoped for someone to play with." That is an excerpt from the Readme file for gnome-cups-manager. There are more snippets from different programs that might pique your interest.
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sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

Forgive me if I seem dismissive, but the quantities you are citing are mere drops in the bucket, so to speak. Yes, there are some dedicated speakers, but its use is barely more wide spread than Klingon. The theory of esperanto as an international reserve language is beautiful, but in practice it is not in sufficiently wide use and appears to be more or less stagnate in growth.

I admit my knowledge of the current state of esperanto is somewhat limited. Sorry for that. I was merely mentioning it to show how even a good idea when it comes to language has to make an uphill struggle to be accepted. Even with an official mandate it would be a slow and possibly fruitless process.

Reply Parent Score: 2

mankso Member since:
2008-08-05

Yes, you're right about the drop in the bucket compared to eco-linguistically destructive World English, but you'll please pardon me if I dispute your often-repeated statement about the number of Klingon speakers. One authority is quoted as saying that "all the fluent Klingon speakers can comfortably go out to dinner together."
[Dr. Laurence Schoen of the Klingon Language Institute, quoted by Gavin Edwards in "Dejpu'bogh Hov rur Qabllj!", Wired, Aug. 1996, pp. 84-93,] What is the source for your statement, please?

The 93rd annual week-long World Esperanto Congress, which finished a few days ago in Rotterdam/Netherlands, gathered together 1800+ fluent Esperanto-speakers from 73 different countries. How many fluent speakers do Klingon congresses attract? Are there in fact any annual Klingon congresses where all the proceedings are conducted solely in Klingon? Amusing pastime though it may be, how does Klingon seek to better the world for following generations on the basis of equal language rights for all?

Edited 2008-08-05 18:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Dejlo Member since:
2008-05-04

The 93rd annual week-long World Esperanto Congress, which finished a few days ago in Rotterdam/Netherlands, gathered together 1800+ fluent Esperanto-speakers from 73 different countries. How many fluent speakers do Klingon congresses attract? Are there in fact any annual Klingon congresses where all the proceedings are conducted solely in Klingon?


It has been my experience at the Worldcons (World Science Fiction Conventions) that I've attended, that it isn't all that difficult to find fluent Esperantists. While I have encountered more people in truly excellent Klingon costumes at Worldcons than I have Esperantists, it seems that all of those Klingons were education somewhere other than the Klingon homeworld and didn't speak their language fluently.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Dejlo Member since:
2008-05-04

Actually, there are three possibilities with an official mandate for Esperanto. If it came from the UN, it would probably be almost universally ignored. If it came from a national government, it might actually be detrimental, as there would now be an international language being treated more or less as the property of a single country. Probably the only way it would work would be for the EU to fund teaching Esperanto as a second language.

Certainly Esperanto is not spoken nearly as widely as English. However, it is much more widespread than Klingon. As one Klingon enthusiast supposedly put it, you could probably get all of the fluent Klingon speakers around a single table. I've been to local gatherings of Esperantists where that many people attended.

Esperanto is remarkable among artificial languages for a number of reasons. First of all, it has outlived its creator by nearly a century now:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._L._Zamenhof

Secondly, it has actually gathered as many speakers as some smaller ethnic languages. The most reliable estimate, and perhaps the only reliable estimate, is now a couple of decades old. Estimating the number of fluent speakers of a language that has no geographic home is quite difficult. The range was between 100K and 2M.

Third, although Esperanto was artificially created, it is undoubtedly a living language now. There are between several hundred and a couple of thousand native speakers (called "denaskuloj" in Esperanto). I've met a few. They are the children of Esperantists. Sometimes their parents teach them the language out of idealism, but often it is more practical than that. There are Esperantist couples whose most fluent shared language is Esperanto. Speaking it at home simply makes sense for them. Of course, native Esperantists are natively bilingual or multilingual.

I would love to see Esperanto more widely adopted. It has achieved its current level of success through grass roots efforts. An artificial language grew from being the creation of a single person to having roughly a million speakers. It did so without being the official language anywhere. It did so even though there was no existing body of cultural works in Esperanto prior to the 1880's.

Esperanto would have two significant advantages over English as an international language. First, it is easier to learn and retain fluency in. Second, it is neutral. It doesn't confer an advantage to the lucky people who happened to be born somewhere where it is the local language.

On the other hand, English has the enormous advantage of the network effect. There are already more speakers, teachers, writers, books, etc. in English. English is the de facto lingua franca of our time. Of course other languages have occupied that position in the past. I have no doubt that some day another language will take the place of English. I would rather see an easily-learned, neutral language do that.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I agree that Esperanto is more neutral than English, and that it is easier to learn. I question its other advantages.

Primarily the advantage English has, apart from widespread use, is vocabulary. More is not necessarily better, but English is certainly an expressive language. This is something any new language would struggle with.

I admire the goals of Esperanto but I don't think it is the language to achieve them. Already there is too much baggage associated with it for it to receive broad support, much less a mandate. If left alone the pool of Esperanto speakers will I do not doubt gradually increase, at least up to a point, but I do not know that the result will be a universal language that meets the original goals.

I view the success of Esperanto to be more of a novelty. The rise in the number of speakers is, I think, more a result of increased ease of dissemination of information (i.e., the Internet) and the increase in world population than a measure of real popular growth. Some people will always be interested in Esperanto and its goals and so some people will always speak it, but I don't forsee it ever "crossing over" into a general spoken language.

Reply Parent Score: 2